Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am presently in Salt Lake City for the Rootstech Conference and am soending my spare time at The Family Histiry Library. As a result there won't be too many posts on tbis blog this week.

If you are at Rootstech please seek me out in the Media Hub and say g'day. I'll also be presenting a sesdion on the Android experiences of three tablet owners so, if yiu are around, please join me for "The Galaxy Girls" talk.

Following is a link to an article I just read in my RSS feeds that may be of interest

Four ways Android is doing exactly what it's supposed to do | Android Central

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rootstech 2012 App is Available! - For Your Family Story

While I was sleeping this app for the Rootstech conference appeared. I have downloaded it and am playing.

Please read Caroline's post and the accompanying comments. Try the app and add to the conversation.

Rootstech 2012 App is Available! - For Your Family Story:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, January 21, 2012

App Reviews

I feel that some of the ultrapositive reviews on GenSoftReviews are posted by those with vested interests such as the slew of positive reviews when version 8 of The Master Genealogist was recently released. 

Anyone contemplating purchase of new genealogy software should stop by this site as the bulk of reviews and accompanying  comments are very useful. 

GenSoftReviews is a site owned by Louis Kessler  who"wanted an interactive site, one that allowed anyone to review and rate their genealogy software."  There are presently over 1,000 reviews of genealogy software packages on the site. Visitors have several options to search for appropriate reviews. The site also gives one the option to subscribe by RSS and have a message delivered whenever a new review is added to the site.

The good news for Android users is that there are presently 17 Android apps listed on the site. I would encourage Android users to both consult these reviews and add their own reviews to the site. I just posted my first review - it was very easy to do.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Size Matters

What I love about Android devices is that they come in all sizes. They are not developed within 'a one size fits all' framework.

I was attracted to my 7" Galaxy Tab because of its compact size and light weight. It is large enough for me to view webpages without too much scrolling from side to side and I can easily hold it in one hand to type notes.  A family member has a new Galaxy S2 that suits his purposes - he finds that screen big enough for the casual browsing, emailing and social networking that he does.

A while ago Carole Riley lamented the damage to her Kobo Reader on Google+ saying "What to do with a broken Kobo?" Her post drew 17 comments including this from Carole "Can I justify buying as new one now that I've started reading books on my Android tablet from Kobo, Kindle, Google and others? The only downside to the tablet is it's too heavy to hold in one hand for long."

I had a bad case of Tablet envy when Carole wrote about her ASUS tablet. It was bigger than mine and offered the facility to type on a real keyboard. In my green state I hadn't thought about the weight issue when  using it for reading. If I did not have a netbook I would still want a tablet like Carole's because of its keyboard facility.

Another family member has just bought a new car and instead of paying a few thousand dollars to have a DVD system installed has bought a couple of 10" tablets  to load movies and games on for the kids to play as they drive along. The bigger screens enhance such viewing.

Owners of 7" tabs like mine have commented that, when using the Billion Graves app, they find it easier to use and hold steady their smaller Android 'phone for taking headstone pictures. They prefer it to the larger tablet for this function.

Size does matter. When you are selecting your Android device think long and hard about how and when you will use it. Once you have given this some consideration you should be able to select a device that will meet your individual needs.  

The large range of Android devices on the market cater for individual needs - Variety is the spice of life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Disappointed with Dick

Yesterday Dick Eastman posted an article, Genealogy Apps for Tablet Computers, in his newsletter. Dick said  "The only tablet that is useful for genealogy programs without modification is the Apple iPad or possibly one of the more full-featured and expensive tablet computers that run the Android operating system."

Possibly? Within minutes of this post appearing a few genealogists on Twitter expressed concern at the  apparent inaccuracies in Dick's post and his bias towards Eve's fruit. I went off and made a couple of comments on Dick's post directing people to this blog and to Tamura Jones' lists of Android Apps for genealogy.

If one was unkind one could assume that Dick did not test any of the "more full-featured and expensive" Android tablets in addition to the two cheapies, The Nook and Kindle Fire, that he mentioned. Dick may have also been unaware of Tamura's lists when he said "In short, anyone who wants to use a full-featured genealogy program on a tablet computer needs to purchase an Apple iPad (which has many genealogy programs available) or one of the "leading handheld candidates" listed earlier that run Android (and will then be limited to only two or three genealogy programs)."

It took quite a while for my comments to appear on Dick's post. A check this morning found them together with many comments from other readers adding pertinent information and making a couple of corrections that balance the content of Dick's article.

Dick may be interested in attending these Rootstech presentations,  The Galaxy Girls –three genealogists’ and their Android tablets  or Using Android Devices for Genealogy and Family History that will give him additional information about the Android genealogy experience.

I only hope that those who read Dick's post also digest the comments left by readers as there is a lot of valuable information contained in them.

POSTSCRIPT Banai Feldstein has published a response to Dick's post where she refutes Dick's claims. It gives potential Android users a clearer picture of the Tablet  market.


A tweet from Audrey Collins today reminded me of another handy use of Android devices.  I remember that some people used this method to get an internet connection for their computers at Rootstech last year.

Google provides instructions on how to do this. Apparently it is quite a simple process.

This Youtube video from butterscotch.com guides visual learners through the process.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Get it straight

This is a neat free app that I have installed on my tablet.

It took me a while to get the knack of holding the tab at the correct angle so that my scan wasn't skewed but now I can manage that I love this tool.

I've used it to scan certificates when visiting relatives and in the library to capture pages from books.

CamScanner App: Portable Scanner for Android | Android Social Media

Friday, January 13, 2012

Top Five Tablets of CES | PCWorld

As an antidote to gadget envy I have been ignoring the proliferation of posts telling of the new toys and gadgets being launched at CES.

I won't be upgrading my tablet yet as it is less than 12 months old but I'm posting this link for those who may be considering purchase of a first or new tablet.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Still Searching for Profit, The Daily Expands to Android Tablets

Dolphin Browser

The browser of choice on my Android device is the Dolphin Browser that I have been using happily for about six months after trying Firefox, Opera Mini and the Google browser that was pre-loaded. I can't remember what caused me to change to Dolphin but I like it and have stuck with it.

When you're on a good thing, stick to it!

Having noticed this post on makeuseof today I am off to download the latest update to Dolphin.

Dolphin Browser Updates With New Look, Improved Performance & Increased Battery Life [News]:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paid Android Genealogy Apps

Tamura Jones new post listing -

Paid Android Genealogy Apps:

'via Blog this'

From the Mailbox

I so appreciate the comments and additions people have been making to posts on this blog and now some help has arrived in my mailbox..

Thanks to Suzie who sent me an email this morning with a link that will help me identify more useful information about Android for Genealogy. Coincidentally Thomas MacEntee just mentioned this same resource in a webinar he gave an hour ago. I am going to subscribe to the makeuseof articles in Google reader.

"Jill, I clipped this from +Google this morning in case you found it useful for your Android Blog....lost power....all went dark...lost the link... finally back to sending it hours later: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-ways-run-android-apps-windows/ If you don't have makeuseof.com in your circles, you might want to follow them. Lots of good info comes from their site and much about Android. Suzie"

Thanks, Suzie and Thomas.

200 Libraries on Library Anywhere « The Thingology Blog

I haven't tried this Android app that gives accesss to 200 library catalogues but I am a great fan of Librarything.

200 Libraries on Library Anywhere « The Thingology Blog:

'via Blog this'

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Wordlcat had an Android app.


Do you know what books are on your bookshelf at home?  I do.
Can you check your personal library holdings when in a bookshop? I can.
Can you remember every book that you have read? I can't but I have an online memory jogger.

Around five years ago I took out a paid subscription (there is a free sub for people with up to 200 books) to Librarything and have religiously added all of the books I have read and those I own into my account on their database. I continue to add to this collection. I sang Librarything's praises for genealogists in  2010 on this post on Geniaus: Librarything - a genealogist's friend. Genealogist, Shelley Bishop has also written a post about Using LibraryThing for genealogy

When looking for Android apps to add to my tablet I was excited to find the LibraryThingScanner app: "LibraryThingScanner uses the Barcode Scanner app to read the ISBN barcode from a book. Your web browser then opens at the LibraryThing add book page."

I love it. I find it especially useful in libraries where I read books that I want to add to my account. I just grab the tablet, zap a book's barcode into the app, the book's details usually appear (after a LibraryThing search of multiple databases) and then I add them to my account. I don't have to rely on pen and paper or my memory to add these resources to my database of books read. I am bibliaugrapher on LibraryThing. 

I can recommend joining Librarything and giving this app a whirl. 

Watch your Android Genealogy

There are so many tech toys appearing at CES in Las Vegas.  I'd love to add this Android wrist watch to my collection.

Mashable - The Social Media Guide

Monday, January 9, 2012

GedStar Pro for Android 2.0.1 Update Released - Genealogy Blog - GeneaNet

What's the difference? Widgets and Apps

I have both widgets and apps installed on my tablet and find them useful.

Apart from knowing that they had to be installed by different methods  I wasn't concerned about this difference. That both apps and widgets enhance my tablets functionality was all I needed to know. As I am putting together the "Galaxy Girls" slides for my Rootstech presentation I wondered about the difference and thought I should have some understanding in case someone asks me about them.

Having looked at Wikipedia, various bulletin boards and user groups I now understand the difference.

Apps are software applications just like those we have on our personal computers. We need to tap on their icons to open and use them.

Widgets are also software applications. Once installed, they run in the background on our devices constantly updating information. Widgets I have installed include Astrid Tasks,  Battery Widget, Digital Clock Widget and Today Widget. Widgets are commonly used for weather, time, horoscopes, sports results and traffic alerts.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Update your Apps

Once you install apps do you forget about them or do you regularly update them?

Developers regularly update their apps with new versions to improve them or fix bugs. To get the best from your apps they need to be maintained. They can do this all by themselves but I prefer to monitor them myself.

One can "Allow automatic updating" from the app page in The  Android Market  by checking that box. If you, like me, have a capped data plan you may not wish to use your precious gigabytes updating apps. I prefer to monitor most of my apps and have an update session when connected to my home DSL connection that has no data cap.  For those apps that I use most frequently I select the "Allow automatic updating"  from the app page.

To see what updates are available one can look at My Apps when logged into the Android Market. This gives a list of the updates available. I often find surprises here in the form of apps I have downloaded and dismissed so it also reminds me to get rid of those apps I won't be using.

Changelog Droid Screenshot

 For app information I prefer to use a free app called Changelog Droid. I can recommend this little app that  will  fetch all app information directly from the Android Market after or before you update them. I am happy with this free version and do not notice the ads  telling me that I have won an iPhone.

Documenting the Details: Can I Survive . . .

Great post from Linda McCauley in which she talks about her preparations for Rootstech travelling "with only a tablet and a smart phone?"

Documenting the Details: Can I Survive . . .:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Free Android Genealogy Apps

Tamura Jones lists "Twenty genealogy apps for Android up for grabs."

Free Android Genealogy Apps:

'via Blog this'

The Top 10 Apps for Android Phones in 2011 - NYTimes.com

I haven't tried any of these apps on this list. There are a few that may be of use to genealogists.

The Top 10 Apps for Android Phones in 2011 - NYTimes.com:

'via Blog this'

Blogger App

While I don't use the Android Blogger App for long blog posts it is great for doing posts on the run. When I hopped off the train in Sydney yesterday morning I took a quick snap of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House and posted it to Blogger. The photo quality isn't excellent but that is more a problem of my device than the Blogger App.

When I am out and about and I get inspiration for a blog post (I have to grab these when I can) I use the  Blogger App  to note my ideas down. These ideas can be saved as drafts for later use.

Choosing from multiple blogs via a dropdown menu is an easy matter although at times I have erred and hastily selected the wrong blog for a post.

List of Posts - Screenshot from Blogger App

There are other Blogger apps available in the Android market but this one does the trick for me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Android Story so Far

I feel like a bit of a fraud hosting this blog as I am no expert on Android devices or apps.

After Christmas I saw some figures showing just how many Android devices had been registered during the Christmas period and I thought that more than a few genealogists must be among this throng. So I went looking for a blog devoted to the use of Android devices in genealogy and could not find anything decent.

My Android experience only started in April and has been documented in a number of posts on the Geniaus blog. These early reports can be accessed from here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Blog Comments - A Rich Resource

I exhort readers of this blog to return to posts once in a while and read the Comment left there. As an example here are two comments from my recent Apps Galore post.

Of these I can't do without Google Reader that I use in bed every morning to catch up on genie news that comes in overnight from distant lands. I also use Camscanner for scanning, Amazon Kindle for eBooks and am getting to know Ancestry.com's new app.

Jo said...
During research trips, I often use Evernote and Google Maps/Google Earth. These apps aren't genealogy-specific, but I've found them quite useful for accessing needed notes and locating elusive cemeteries.

In addition, I also use:
Google Translate
Ancestry.com's new app
Catherine Pendleton said...
I haven't had my smart phone very long but have been playing with/using several apps that I think are useful for genealogy. I do similar types of research (history/archaeology) for work and these apps come in handy (well, except for youtube and Google Reader while I'm on the clock :). In addition to Evernote, Google Earth/Maps, and ancestry.com that Jo mentioned, I have Dropbox, Google Books, Youtube, Photoshop Express, Amazon Kindle, Camscanner, Google Reader (for catching up on blogs when away from the computer). I also have the Mozy app (my cloud of choice) so I can access all files on my hard drive.

Juice Defender

Here is another recycled post that first appeared in June on the Geniaus blog.

I was reminded this morning when reading a post from Richard Byrne that my mate Shelley from Twigs of Yore in her post, Life in the clouds and across the Galaxy, had suggested Juice Defender as a great app for an Android Galaxy Tab. I hadn't gotten around to installing it yet but will do so now.

Recommendations from two people whose opinions I respect are good enough for me. Shelley has " upgraded all the way to Ultimate", I'll hold on to my pennies for the minute and  try the free version in the first instance.

The opportunity this app provides to prolong the battery life of my Android device is rather appealing.

Apps Galore

Please tell about your favourites for genealogy and I'll share them on this blog.

The Android Market now has over 400,000 apps | TalkAndroid.com:

'via Blog this'

BillionGraves Update 2.0.2 « BillionGraves Blog

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Android Genealogy - A Community Blog

My knowledege of Android is quite limited and I realise that there are lots of genealogists like me who are dipping their toes into Android water. Before this blog was established this week I couldn't find one place that drew together the knowledge and experiences of Android Genealogists.

I hope that they will comment on this blog and send me items that I can publish about their experiences.

Earlier today Patrice Green, the proud new owner of an Android device wrote the following on Google+. She kindly gave me permission to repost it here:

Patrice Green  -  14:12  -  Public
I've had my Samsung Galaxy Nexus for 10 days now. It's my very first smartphone. I thought I knew most things about the phone because I've been watching and reading about it since October. In fact, when I went in to look at the phone for the first time a customer was asking the salesman a question that he could not answer -- but I could and did! In addition, my daughters both have been using Android phones and they were more than willing to give Mom the grand tour.

But then I found the Verizon "Nexus" Simulator yesterday. What a terrific tutorial! I actually learned ten new things that I didn't know before:

1. To capture a screenshot, hold down the power button and the lower volume button at the same time.

2. The Nexus has the equivalent of "call waiting." You can accept a second incoming call (or reject it). You can switch between two calls using the swap button.

3. You can respond to phone calls with text messages by dragging the phone icon up to the message icon. You have a choice of several canned messages or a custom message.

4. You can change to Silent Mode using the power button. Just select it from the menu that pops up. It's the same menu used for Airplane Mode or to Power Off. I just never saw the Silent Option, even though it was staring me in the face.

5. You can "join" Contacts using the Contacts Edit menu.
(Hmm... I have duplicates. I wonder how to solve that. Nor do I want all my G+ contacts to be listed with my Personal Contacts.)

6. Creating a group can't be done unless you tap the bottom group icon too! That's one of the few things that doesn't seem to be intuitive.

7. I knew there had to be some way to set a picture as wallpaper, but I couldn't find it. You have to start from the home screen by tapping and holding an open space. Only then does the Gallery option appear.

8. The web browser has tabs!

9. You can turn WiFi notifications On or Off. Which is better? I don't know yet.

10. As you move across the five home screens a blue bar appears in the line above the Application Launcher section. You can only see it as you are moving from one screen to another. It identifies the position of the screen you moved to relative to the App Launcher (center home screen).

I realize some of this may be old hat to Android users. These are just the new things that surprised and pleased me.

I still have a few things to work out, but all in all I love my new Nexus.

If you'd like to take the Nexus for a test drive, the simulator is located here:http://support.verizonwireless.com/simulator/Samsung/galaxy_nexus/index.html

Drive safely!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Official Google Android Beanies | TalkAndroid.com

I might just get one of these to wear at the Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City. Will any other Android users be joining me?

Official Google Android Beanies | TalkAndroid.com:

'via Blog this'

PocketMags | History

Thanks to Liz Pidgeon (@infolass on Twitter) for pointing out these history and genealogy emagazine subscriptions some of which can be downloaded to your Android devices.

PocketMags | History:

'via Blog this'

News App

Here's a suggestion from one of my favourite edtech writers, Richard Byrne.

Android 4 Schools » Blog Archive » Read Newspapers from Around the World on Your Android Device

Try it out and let us know what you think via the comments facility below.

Webinar - Genealogy on the Go

Here is a description from the Legacy Family Tree Site for a free webinar they are hosting on April, 11th:

Genealogy on the Go - the Families app for your Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Got an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or an Android device? With the "Families" application you can easily transfer your Legacy Family Tree files and pictures from your computer to your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android device, enabling them to be viewed and edited wherever you are. Any changes you make on these devices can then be synced back to your Legacy family file. Join the developer of Families, Malcolm Green, for a demonstration of how it all works and what it looks like.

For further detail sand registration head over to this page

Monday, January 2, 2012

Praying for a Shady Day

As I am into recycling from time to time I will by republishing posts from the Geniaus blog.    This post was originally published on the Geniaus blog on 20 November 2011.

The Australian summer is here in full force, today we expect the mercury to reach about 37°C. As I learnt on Friday this weather is not suitable for tramping through cemeteries.

I was so excited after listening to a webinar (Virtual Chapter Presentations) hosted by the Utah Genealogical Associationon BillionGraves and Familysearch that when the webinar concluded I popped into my little Bambino and headed for thenearest cemetery. Although we were advised in the webinar that shady weather provided the best environment for taking photos of headstones I just could not contain my enthusiasm.

Thanks to the Utah Genealogical Association who have opened their webinars (Virtual Chapter Presentations) to the public. Firstly moderator, Suzanne Curley welcomed each of us as we joined the session. I then enjoyed Tim Cross's presentation; he had a relaxed style using appropriate but not too many screenshots augmented by live demonstrations. Tim provided relevant answers to the questions posed by the 46 or so online participants.  The Society hosts one of these meetings on the third Thursday of each month except December. Details can be found on the society website. A perusal of the topics indicates that they are not UScentric but are relevant to an international audience. The timing of the webinar at 1 PM Sydney time is perfect for me and many other Australians.

I recognised a couple of other Rootstech Official Bloggers, Sue Maxwell and Renee Zamora, in the group, I also noticed Banai Feldstein and Roger Moffat asking questions of Tim, there were also participants from Canada and the Philippines.

I chose the Dural Uniting Church Cemetery for the first sortie as my husband has a direct ancestor and her daughter buried there. This cemetery has already been photographed with images available on Australian Cemeteries Index but I will photograph the headstones for BillionGraves as I believe having  GPS coordinates will benefit others who wish to visit and find graves and the affiliation with FamilySearch will, in the future, have exciting benefits for many genealogists.

It was an easy task to upload my photos to the BillionGraves site on my return home. I was a bit hard on myself and did not upload all the photos taken because, in the harsh sunlight, I had difficulty seeing on the screen of the tablet what I was photographing. Having a at other photos on the site I realise that I should not have deleted mine. Ashady day would provide better conditions for this task and more comfortable conditions for the photographer. A number of other tips for photography were given in webinar and are also available on the BillionGraves site.

We were told in the webinar that we could add transcriptions to our own photographs  but the time I worked out how to do this someone else had transcribed them. What was disappointing about this was that they had not all  been fully transcribed, the names and dates had been added but the additional information fields had been ignored. I wonder if this is because those transcribers are in the race to get their names on the leaderboard for the most transcriptions done. It was an easy task to open and edit the records to add the extra information. I have also transcribed a number of other images on the site, this is a simple task that can be done whenever one has a few spare minutes.

Another reason I had for going out and trying the Android BillionGraves app that was already installed on my tablet is that I want to discuss it in my presentation The Galaxy Girls at Rootstech 2012. I will now be able to discuss the app with some authority.

If it's cool in your neck of the woods and you have either an Android phone or tablet or an iPhone why not download the app and test it for yourself. You can help build the BillionGraves database from the 310,000 images it is today to the projected 1 billion.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

MyHeritage Mobile App: 100,000 installs and counting! - MyHeritage.com - English blog

I'm not a fan of MyHeritage but it is obvious that they have many devotees in the genealogy community. I congratulate them on producing an Android app and on reaching this admirable milestone.

MyHeritage Mobile App: 100,000 installs and counting! - MyHeritage.com - English blog:

'via Blog this'

Are you a typical Android user?

I most certainly am not and I doubt that many genealoglists are.

Take a look at this infographic on Mashable.

Do you recognise yourself?

Top Apps from Android Central

I use some of these apps but am going to have a look at Smart Keyboard Pro and Astro File Manager.

Jared's top apps of 2011 | Android Central

While I was holidaying just before Christmas....

....The Ancestry Android app was released.

I had tried out the Beta version a few months ago, was not overly impressed and with many others sent feedback to Ancestry. I believe that they have taken note of the feeback received and made modifications and additions to the app. I have now downloaded the newly released app to my tablet,will give it a work out tomorrow and post my reactions shortly.

In the interim you can read what Kendall Hulet said about it on the Ancestry.com blog:

For all of our Ancestry.com users that have been patiently waiting for an Android app, your wait is over! We’re happy to announce the launch of our new Android app just in time for the holidays.
Ancestry.com Android app
The new Ancestry.com app for Android phones and tablets (and very soon including Kindle Fire, NOOK Color, and NOOK Tablet – pending app store approval) allows you to interact with your Ancestry.com family tree while on the go. Not only can you view and edit your existing family trees, but you can also build new family trees from scratch, add new family members, edit their information, add and edit life events, and view historical records that have been attached on Ancestry.com–anytime, anywhere. You never know where or when you’ll make a new discovery. It’s like having your entire family tree in your pocket!
Here’s what you can do with the new Android app:
  • View your family tree on your Android phone or tablet (you can easily zoom in or out to see anywhere from 2 to 5 or more generations)
  • Start a new family tree or add to an existing one easily
  • View life events and family members for the ancestors in your tree
  • Add, edit and delete people, life events and facts
  • Easily locate any ancestor in your family tree with our handy search tool
  • View historical documents and indexed information that you’ve attached to your family tree on Ancestry.com
  • Many more features (like photos) coming soon… stay tuned!
To get started, download the Ancestry.com Android app here. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...